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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Charm of Cast Iron Decorative Door Stops

Cast iron decorative door stops add charm to a home and can last for generations. Initially these pieces were meant to be functional in the 1800's, but in the past few decades they have become purely decorative. Antique door stops are now considered to be American Folk Art and can be quite valuable. Drawn in by their warmth and whimsy, today many people collect old and new cast iron door stops. 

Antique door stops are prized and cherished, but it's difficult to discern genuine articles from reproductions and frauds. If you're planning to spend a good deal of money on an antique cast iron door stop consider purchasing a book to help you or have an expert appraisal. However, there are a few key signs a buyer should always be on the lookout for.

First, an antique door stop will be completely smooth to the touch. The craftsmen who first made these spent hours grinding down the surfaces on the door stops. Modern door stops will feel sandy or rough. 

Second, many door stops are assembled together from multiple pieces. An antique door stop will have pieces perfectly aligned so the seams are hardly noticeable. Modern pieces may have large gaps. Additionally, any bolts holding an antique piece together would use flat head screws that almost disappear. Modern door stops generally use Phillips head screws that aren't flush against the piece.

Finally, paint on an antique door stop will have worn in the expected places (generally the base and the top). Excessive wear in odd places is a sign of a reproduction. 

For those on a smaller budget, there are more reasonable options. Modern cast iron door stops are made in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to make sure there is a selection for every personality. Some door stops can even double as a boot scraper, making sure that the messy outdoors stay outside.

Additionally, if you have a door stop that's in poor condition you can repaint it to bring new life to the piece. Only use oil based paint on cast iron. Water or latex based paint will easily chip off. Also, never repaint an antique door stop unless you're an expert, or you greatly damage the value. 

Cast iron decorative door stops have retained their popularity over the decades thanks to their simple beauty. Those in the market for an antique door stop need to proceed with caution to make sure they don't end up with a high-priced reproduction. Modern door stops can still delight for a smaller price and come in a huge variety of themes. No matter which route is chosen, a cast iron door stop will last for generations.


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